What are the health needs of our community? Part Two

On Tuesday, we looked at what a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is and how it is used by KSB Hospital to identify the health needs of the community. We also showed that one of the top three health needs of our service area was obesity education & prevention. Today, we’ll look at the other two, and we’ll talk about why we didn’t address every single health need that may be present.

In addition to obesity education & prevention, another health need of the community identified by the CHNA committee was the prevention & treatment of tobacco use. Tobacco use has been linked to countless health problems, including cancer, heart disease, strokes, respiratory disease, birth defects, and more. A recent health survey showed that 26 percent of adults in Lee County are smokers. Of particular concern, the study showed that 19 percent of pregnant women in Lee County smoke, compared to the state average of 8.6 percent of pregnant women. Given the risks of smoking during pregnancy, this rate is alarmingly high. The CHNA committee and other local providers, including the Lee County Health Department, have worked together to include smoking cessation resources in employer outreach efforts and community education programs.

The third health need we identified was to improve community awareness of existing health resources. In both the discussions of obesity and tobacco use, the committee identified several services for each need that are currently available but underutilized. Instead of reinventing the wheel, the committee resolved to share better information across organizations about what resources and events are available.

Other health needs were identified, like alcohol & drug abuse, mental health, and public transportation. These were not chosen as top priorities by KSB Hospital because of significant work being done by organizations like Sinnissippi Centers, LSSI, the Lee County Health Department, and others. In those needs, KSB plays a supporting role, offering resources as appropriate.

This CHNA was conducted in 2013, and the Affordable Care Act requires hospitals to conduct a new assessment every three years. As we head into a new CHNA process in 2016, what health needs do you think should we study? How do you think our findings will change from the 2013 plan? Share your insight in the comments section!

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